chapter  12
20 Pages

Southern African Grassland in an Era of Global Change

ByGraham Paul von Maltitz

Grasslands, either as pure grasslands (i.e., grasslands without a tree component and which will be referred to simply as grasslands), or savanna grasslands (i.e., a mix of grass and trees, which will be referred to simply as savanna) constitute the predominant vegetation type of southern Africa. It is only South Africa and Lesotho that have extensive grasslands and these contribute about 28 per cent of the South African landscape. In other southern African countries, grasslands are limited to high mountainous areas or hydromorphic grasslands in seasonally-flooded areas. With the exception of Lesotho which is almost exclusively grassland, savanna vegetation is the dominant vegetation of all Southern African countries, contributing about 33 per cent of South Africa’s land area, but the major proportion of the land area is in the remaining countries.